How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
A collection of science fiction master N K Jemisin’s short stories, from her early career (although she refuses to release her teenage novels and remind us that she is human) to now.
This was fantastic, with many five or six star short stories that had my jaw dropping with what science fiction can be and should be and completely is. There were only a couple stories that I wasn’t incredibly fond of, most of those written early in her career (at least I think) based on the writing style.
Some of my favorites in the collection:
“The Ones Who Stay and Fight” about a utopian society/alternate reality.
“The City Born Great” a young man becomes midwife to New York City, which is about to be born into something amazing. But first, he’s got to fight off a vicious demon determined to keep the city unborn.
“Red Dirt Witch” A White Lady attempts to steal the child of a Black widwife, with the bargain of one for three, and the midwife resists. Filled with Appalachian folk magic, history and the power of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It’s beautiful and searing.
“L’Alchimista” made me so fucking hungry, and filled with awe of master chefs and their food wizardry.
“Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters” After a bunch of okay to not-riveting-but-still-phenomenal stories, this short blew me away. Tookie tries to survive Hurricane Katrina and the breaking of the levies in New Orleans, and finds himself trying to save more than himself and an old neighbor. Because there’s something lurking in the waters. And it’s hungry.
Definitely a must-read if you want to dip your toe into science fiction short stories.
And the audiobook is fantastic, too!